The early generations of transgenic plants focused primarily on increasing productivity, either by reducing pest damage or increasing yields by minimizing the impact of weeds. These have met with fierce opposition from anti-GMO groups and some government quarters (such as Green Party members in European parliaments).
But transgenics and other modifications in medicines (ranging from monoclonal antibodies against melanoma and lung cancer to gene therapies against inherited rare disorders and RNA interference in molecular diagnostics) have not seen the same kind of resistance. Is it possible that transgenics (or even more modern techniques like CRISPR that don’t require genes from other species) directly targeting plant diseases might have an easier time gaining widespread acceptance?
It’s hard to say for certain. But we can look at several efforts in recent years to deal with diseases — those facing humans and the crops we eat. Here’s a brief scorecard, looking at some notable developments … Read more